Travel Books for Christmas Stockings and Rucksacks

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LOOKING for a last- minute stocking filler? Here, DEBORAH JACKSON presents a selection of family travel books.

* FOLLOWERS of the television series might consider Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, [pounds sterling]20 hardback).

From Idaho to Kenya via Venice, Paris and Spain, Michael Palin's great excuse for a TV series makes a glorious travel book. There's never a dull moment, either, in the stunning photography or the entertaining travel notes by Palin himself.

You don't need to read any of Hemingway's novels in order to indulge.

Palin casually pops into the picture as if he's travelling with the wife and kids. Exactly the kind of thing you can imagine yourself doing, given time, money and a large TV crew . . .

* SHOULD you have children who will be travelling next year, it's well worth investing in the Next Stop!

which includes Next Stop!

Spain by Fred Martin (Heinemann Library, [pounds sterling]9.99 hardback and [pounds sterling]5.25 paperback). Martin introduces children to the geography and customs of a wide range of countries in Europe and beyond.

This book introduces a typical Spanish family and then gives details about their hobbies and what they eat for breakfast. There's even one called Next Stop! The Moon.

* SCOFFED at by many but a favourite of mine are the Peter Mayle books.

His latest is Encore Provence (Hamish Hamilton, [pounds sterling]16.99 hardback).

They may not be to everyone's taste, but I like the delicious escapism of an unfettered English couple roaming around my favourite corner of France and recounting their tales.

* IF YOU are planning a gap year in which to travel, then get Lonely Planet Unpacked: Travel Disaster Stories by Tony Wheeler and other Lonely Planet authors (Lonely Planet Publications, [pounds sterling]6. …